Seems Like Old Times: Protestors Destroy Andres Serrano’s Photographs

In fairly recent days, the French have publicly expressed their distaste for Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, and Frank Gehry, among others. We’re generalizing of course, but this writer is a boorish American tourist and that’s what we do. Besides, it was the only segue we could think of to talk about this past weekend’s destruction of artist Andres Serrano‘s controversial piece, Piss Christ, in Avignon. You’ve likely heard about the piece, as it’s been the the focus of unbridled outrage since it first appeared in 1987, depicting a crucifix sitting inside a jar of the artist’s urine. Though it had previously been shown in France before without incident, this weekend marked a large protest at the gallery it was being held at. The Guardian reports that those angered by the piece managed to overpower the gallery guards and a member of the crowd smashed Serrano’s work with a hammer and a screwdriver or ice pick, destroying another photograph as well. As is always par for the course for this sort of thing, the exhibition will likely now received ten times the attention and as the gallery’s director has said that he will leave the damage intact for the remainder of its run (“so people can see what barbarians can do”), meaning it will do the protestors’ image far fewer favors than had they just ignored the whole thing and not exposed so many more people to the thing they hate.